Problems in Learning

A national issue of ongoing concern is the task of teaching people, in order to make of them a more prosperous economy, a better company, or more fulfilled people.

Training the 'work force', or its leaders, can naturally be seen as a task of major importance which could have great consequences for the good. Three questions spring immediately to mind. First, who needs training? Second, what do they need training on? And finally, how should such training be done?

But these questions reflect, themselves, certain assumptions that need to be clearly viewed.

A man builds his life and his person through the endless process of viewing and postulating based on his own considerations. A short-hand way of describing this process is to say he builds a belief system.

A small fraction of that belief system concerns itself with the skills and attitudes that govern his work life. The part that immediately involves his tasks and relations at work is far less significant to him than the structures of belief that govern, in his own view, who he is and what he is doing with his life, what he is trying to learn about existence, what he is doing in the physical universe in the first place, and what broad-range goals and games he is engaged in.

These larger spheres of belief color completely the subsets of daily work.

Training, then, which takes into account only the attitudes, knowledge and technologies involved between 8:00 and 5:00, Monday to Friday, will tend to miss the heart of the person being trained. And the heart so missed will get even by sulking, undermining or playing servile with the group which missed it. The heart, conversely, which is touched by training actions, will flower and originate help in ways that managers cannot imagine. There is the true asset of the company.

The problem of training then is not rote recitation but engagement of the whole being. An initial approach to training which does this should probably anchor itself on these values:

1. The whole being PERCEIVES
2. The whole being CREATES
3. The whole being DECIDES.

Therefore training which tells people what they are looking at, what they should create or what they should decide will tend to miss involvement.

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